Maintenance processes and workflows cover the lifespan of all assets in a plant or facility, starting before assets are acquired and after they are decommissioned. Thus, keeping maintenance activities under control is a tall order. And manual tracking and documentation are simply incapable of meeting these demands. Paper-based and spreadsheet methods of maintenance management have no place in the digital age.
We are now seeing a meteoric rise in the number of facilities implementing CMMS or a computerized maintenance management system. CMMS has infinite potential to transform maintenance by digitizing and centralizing data for accuracy and ease of use.
In this post, we present the often chaotic and complex processes involved in maintaining assets. After that, we discussed the many ways a CMMS like Redlist can help you take control of the chaos and meet your bottom line.
Defining Asset Maintenance
Maintenance processes aim to improve productivity by reducing asset breakdowns and increasing uptime. The bottom line of asset maintenance is to achieve the overall reliability of any asset. In other words, all maintenance efforts should ensure that every asset can be relied upon to function at the expected level in the specified conditions and periods.
Maintenance covers all asset stages: from asset planning and acquisition to engineering and operation, repairs, and overhauls, and finally, tear down and removal. At each of these stages, maintenance must implement protocols and programs to ensure the assets are managed according to the bottom line.
Primer on Maintenance Strategies
The processes and workflows in any maintenance department are the results of the maintenance strategies in effect in the facility. Every organization can choose to practice different maintenance strategies that fit their unique asset requirements. These custom strategies, in turn, will identify the degree and frequency of the maintenance tasks and activities to be implemented.
In general, there are three common strategies that maintenance departments can employ, which we briefly discuss below:
Reactive Maintenance (RM)
From the ‘reactive’ in its name, RM is a strategy that involves the execution of tasks after the breakdown or failure of assets. Reactive maintenance is a beneficial strategy for its low-resource requirements. Unlike other maintenance strategies requiring regular monitoring, RM lets you save on labor costs, maintenance materials, and asset downtime for preventive maintenance.
But the short-term benefits of RM are outweighed by its long-term disadvantages. Fixing assets only when issues occur often fails to address the root cause of asset problems. Thus, these problems can exponentially worsen over time, leading to more costly downtime, asset repair or replacement, and productivity loss.
Preventive Maintenance (PM)
A more proactive approach than RM, preventive maintenance is a strategy often employed to mitigate failure by identifying the potential causes of asset breakdown and addressing them before they occur. PM tasks are prescribed according to the maintenance needs of the asset. Thus, effective Preventive Maintenance relies on actual data or records of asset maintenance.
PM is a complex strategy that must undergo continuous evaluation, monitoring, and revision. It also requires more resources and regular downtime. But PM strategies have proven to be valuable in preventing catastrophic breakdowns often missed by RM strategies. Organizations report that even at minimal capacity, employing PM strategies leads to savings in health and safety expenses, productivity costs, and asset repair costs.
Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
RCM strategy shares the same goal with the PM strategy of proactively addressing causes of failure and preventing its occurrence. RCM, however, focuses on the reliability of assets and, if necessary, may incorporate other maintenance methods in addition to PM. RCM is a custom strategy that focuses on individual assets. RCM devises a maintenance plan tailor-fitted to achieve the asset’s optimum reliability.
RCM requires accurate data collection for it to be successful. Assets must be evaluated and monitored for their criticality and failure patterns so that the appropriate maintenance plan is prescribed. This way, RCM can better allocate maintenance tools, materials, labor, etc., and ultimately save on the costs of performing redundant or unnecessary maintenance tasks.
General Maintenance Workflow
To get an idea of how maintenance processes happen, below is the generalized list of workflow steps. Remember these steps can be modified according to the maintenance strategy and the asset being maintained.
Step 1: Initiation of a trigger – A trigger can be a report of breakdown or failure. It can also be a scheduled PM event. Additionally, there are some cases where ongoing maintenance detects a trigger that requires an additional maintenance schedule.
Step 2: Planning of maintenance event – The maintenance department schedules and assigns the resources to address the trigger. Work orders are released and distributed to the staff and technicians concerned.
Step 3: Execution of maintenance – The concerned maintenance personnel executes the task/s according to the schedule and standard protocol. Upon completion, the authorized personnel report the details of the maintenance task. They also report any deviations or task changes encountered and recommendations.
Step 4: Recording and analysis – The maintenance department receives maintenance reports and enters data for recording. From here, maintenance managers or experts evaluate and analyze the maintenance event. The analysis results can mean the resolution of asset maintenance or making decisions to perform additional maintenance.
Step 5: Storage for future reference – Maintenance events, whether resolved or requiring additional action, should have their details stored for future reference. A database of maintenance events is critical for evaluating maintenance performance and efficiency. This database also provides information for comparing against standard metrics and identifying areas of improvement.
Workflow Automation & Digitized Information by CMMS
By automating this workflow and digitizing information, CMMS provides the following benefits to maintenance management:
- Faster trigger initiation – With mobile software that users can have on any portable device, receiving triggers is faster and more applicable even for in-the-field users. And the sooner triggers are initiated, the faster the resolution of issues and the lower the downtime.
- Streamlined work order processing – Automated work orders that are flexible and customizable to any trigger can be easily generated in a CMMS. Unlike paper-based work orders, CMMS work orders are released in real-time, and easily accessible to all concerned users. Also, their digital capabilities allow the attachment of photos, videos, and standard procedures to support the maintenance task.
- Improved maintenance execution – Maintenance execution, whether on-site or in-the-field, benefits from the portable and user-friendly CMMS software. Users can fill in work orders or reports in a few clicks, increasing efficiency and productivity. The accuracy of information also increases with digital input.
- Accurate analysis and timely resolution – With CMMS, results of maintenance execution are available in real-time. Managers no longer need to wait for their technicians to report on-site. Thus, maintenance results are analyzed instantly, and critical decisions can be made sooner, saving on downtime and productivity losses.
- Accessible and secure data storage – CMMS’s cloud-based storage provides an accessible but secure place to organize maintenance data for future reference.
CMMS software is what every competitive organization needs to control the chaos of maintenance processes and workflows. To learn how Redlist provides the above benefits and more, visit getredlist.com to schedule your free demo with us today!